Recorded on December 15th, 2016
We are all going to die.
Obvious? Yes, but deaths of beloved musicians like Greg Lake on December 7 drive this home to me harder than anything else does. It feels like a rug being jerked out from under the stereo, and all those years of hearing “Knife-Edge”, “Lucky Man”, “Still You Turn Me On”, and “I Believe in Father Christmas” are now cast in a different light. Suddenly you see that you were part of a decades-long music party where your favorite luminaries were always just “there”, and you were lucky enough to be alive at the same time as them. How could they ever die when they made so much great stuff? Why do we spend time on anything that isn’t completely fun and valuable if we’re here for only a blink?
We already lost Keith Emerson this year. I didn’t expect Greg Lake’s time to be up this soon. I’m sad that I’ve been so wrapped around other dire situations that I didn’t know this until today, when a friend said, “You heard about Greg Lake, right?” My mind immediately went to the worst-case scenario and I begged him not to let it be true. How is it that it wasn’t plastered all over the news sites? Lake wasn’t a minor rock star, but maybe he’s regarded as one in the accumulated eyes of the people left alive on Earth.
I need to dig out my Emerson, Lake & Palmer records, and buy the ones I’m still missing. My brother and I bonded over the “Knife-Edge” video above when The Today Show featured 20 seconds of it during an ELP feature in the 80s, because it was and still is completely bad-ass.
Carl Palmer, you’re the only one left to pass on the prog/symphonic/rock DNA of your bandmates now. May you enjoy many more years of making music.